The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

A Syrian rebel fires a heavy machine gun mounted on the back of a vehicle in Maaloula, a suburb of Damascus, in this image taken from a September 4, 2013 video footage obtained from a social media website.
A Syrian rebel fires a heavy machine gun mounted on the back of a vehicle in Maaloula, a suburb of Damascus, in this image taken from a September 4, 2013 video footage obtained from a social media website.
(REUTERS)

PATRICK MARTIN

Under siege, ancient Christian village adds new twist to Syrian conflict

Jesus may have just become a factor in Syria’s civil war.

Early Wednesday morning, forces from the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group known as the al-Nusra Front stormed the Syrian military outpost that protected the historic Christian village of Maalula, about 55 km north of Damascus. The soldiers – eight of them were reportedly killed – had guarded the only road into this secluded, predominantly Christian community. Throughout the day, residents of the village reported that their defenceless community had come under fire from the rebel jihadists with shells hitting the town centre and threatening the village’s five churches, a monastery and a convent.